President Dr Irfaan Ali on Wednesday conducted community outreaches in several villages along the East Coast of Demerara, where he reiterated his Government’s commitment to ensuring that all citizens’ lives and communities are developed alongside the country.
The Head of State visited Supply, in Mahaica, and Ann’s Grove and Victoria villages on the East Coast, where he engaged scores of residents and addressed issues affecting them and their villages.
“I’m here to let the people know we will do it for you. This President here will break new grounds all over, and we will win the hearts of the people through hard work and through results…Nothing can distract me, because we are fixed on one agenda: that is, the development of all the people of the country. So, trust me, they can send a million distractors, but we will stay focused on the task ahead. You can be assured of that,” the President declared to a gathering of villagers in Victoria.
Trapped in a narrative
The President’s remark came in response to one resident claiming that no work has been done in the community, while works are being executed in surrounding communities. However, engineers accompanying the Head of State detailed the list of works being carried out.
According to Ali, the individual who made the remark, also Chairman of the Opposition-controlled Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC), has an agenda to keep the people trapped in a narrative, but he is heading on the wrong track.
The Guyanese Leader noted that since getting into office in August 2020, he and his Cabinet Members have been regularly conducting community engagements across the country; even in areas that are strongholds of the PNC-led APNU/AFC Opposition.
He then questions whether the same can be said for the Coalition regime during its term in office from 2015 to 2020.
“I don’t have that type of baggage behind me, because I don’t see anything by race, by colour, by religion; that’s not my aim… That Government was in office for five years, between 2015 and 2020, did any president in that five year came at 5:25 in the afternoon and talk to you? They should, from the mountains (of claims) that they love you, but which one came to talk to you?” the President argued.
The Head of State went on to address concerns raised by residents, among which were deplorable roads, infrastructural works, support for farmers, need for street lights, and facilities /training for youths, among other things.
Prior to visiting Victoria, President Ali and his team engaged residents at Ann’s Grove, ECD, where he assured that several developmental projects would shortly be undertaken in the community.
He said that representatives of the Guyana Livestock Development Authority (GLDA), National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA), and the engineer from the Public Works Ministry would work along with the committee representatives to peruse all the programmes to identify women and single parents for participation in the beekeeping, egg production and black giant chicken projects.
“We will work with all these communities to include all the young people and so on in the programme. We will also do the Community Centre and rehabilitate the playground in Two Friends. We will look at the four bridges and the canal dam…,” he announced.
Other issues highlighted by Ann’s Grove residents included road infrastructure, farm-to-market roads, drainage and irrigation works, clearing of farmlands, and construction of access bridges, among other things.
President Ali was informed by the engineer about the roads under construction, and the other roads that are scheduled to undergo construction in Ann’s Grove and Clonbrook. Additionally, several bridges are being completed in Ann’s Grove.
Chairman of the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA), Lionel Wordsworth, said the NDIA would this year continue to work along with the CDC group for the monthly maintenance of drainage channels in Ann’s Grove, Bee Hive, Clonbrook, and Two Friends. Excavation works would also be undertaken to remove the overhanging vegetation along the drainage channel.
Wordsworth further disclosed that 6,322 metres of drainage and irrigation channels would be done in Ann’s Grove, Two Friends, Bee Hive, and the Greenfield areas; and
approximately $8 million would be invested to execute works on the culvert at Dochfour.
Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer of the Guyana Livestock Development Authority (GLDA), Dr Dwight Walrond, has indicated that the residents would benefit from various programmes this year. He also informed Dr Ali that the consultants for the apiculture project arrived earlier today in Guyana, and training would commence next month-end for beekeepers in Guyana.
As part of Guyana’s duck project, Dr Walrond said, “Again, it would be the first time in the history of Guyana that we will be having a duck abattoir in this country. And that will give you guys access to the niche market. We have the extractive sector and so on. You will now be able to produce your ducks to supply that market.”
GLDA would also help the farmers in this undertaking, since the first set of breeding stock would be available on March 18. The GLDA, he further emphasised, is looking to produce 10,000 ducklings on the East Coast corridor every month.
Residents, especially single parents and youths, have been encouraged to capitalise on the various programmes in the agriculture sector.
Over in Supply, Mahaica, President Ali urged engineers overseeing infrastructural works to engage residents on the progress of these projects and hear whether they have concerns.
This was after residents again complained about incomplete road works, for which the Head of State admonished that engineers and contractors would be held accountable if this practice continues.
“So once the contract time is up and the road is not completed, the engineers would have to give explanation, and the contractors and people will have to face the full consequences; because we are paying engineers to be in these communities to supervise on our behalf, and we have to come to the community to hear this! The engineer seems unaware of what is happening; that cannot be what we want!” President Ali contended.
The Guyanese Leader had, in October, expressed his dissatisfaction with engineers not ensuring that projects are completed on time, and not being up to date with the progress of works ongoing.